Imambaldi, or Imam Bayildi, or as I thought it was called growing up, "mumbaldi," is a Turkish stewed eggplant dish that is incredibly simple, and deceptively good. I recently learned that the name means "the Imam cried," because legend has it that this last-minute dish served to him was so good. According to the Internet, Imam Bayildi is said to be a stuffed eggplant dish, but my mother always made it this way which is much simpler (and I would bet, even more satisfying). My mother learned this dish from her mother-in-law, whose husband spent time living in Turkey. She would serve it as an appetizer with bread, to soak up the savory oil. Years later, we would toss Imambaldi with pasta for dinner. It could also easily be served with rice, lentils and greens for a delicious whole meal.
Imambaldi: Turkish Stewed Eggplant, Onion and Tomato
1/2 cup olive oil (or vegetable oil)
2 medium eggplants (or 1 large), peeled and sliced in rounds
2 medium onions, halved and sliced
3/4 pint cherry tomatoes, halved (or 3 large tomatoes, quartered)
1 t salt, or more to taste
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
Layer the eggplant and onion slices in a large pot with the olive oil, cook on med-high heat, stir occasionally. When it starts to cook, add the tomatoes and salt. Reduce heat to low, stir occasionally, cook for 45 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in vinegar. Serve at room temperature with toasted bread or a flatbread.